Professor Daniela Berghahn

Personal profile


Associate Dean for Research (Arts and Social Sciences Faculty)


Daniela Berghahn studied at the University of Cologne in Germany and at Emmanuel College, Cambridge. Before joining the Media Arts Department at Royal Holloway in 2006, she worked as a Strategic Planner at AMVBBDO, one of London’s top ten advertising agencies, and taught at the University of Cambridge and Oxford Brookes University. At Royal Holloway, Daniela has held various research management positions, including Director of Research (Media Arts) and Director of the Humanities and Arts Research Institute (HARI). In 2017, she was appointed Associate Dean for Research of the Arts and Social Sciences Faculty.

Her research and teaching interests include transnational cinemas; migrant and diasporic cinema in Europe; German film history and culture; the relationship between film, history and memory; and representations of the family in cinema. She is currently working on a research project examining exoticism in contemporary transnational cinemas. 

Daniela Berghahn has been amongst the first scholars in the Anglophone world to research DEFA (Deutsche Film-Aktiengesellschaft), the state-owned and controlled film production and distribution company of the former German Democratic Republic. Her monograph Hollywood behind the Wall: The Cinema of East Germany (Manchester University Press, 2005) is a pioneering history of East German film culture from 1946 to the beginning of the new millennium.

Her research in the field of migrant and diasporic cinema has been supported by the Arts and Humanities Research Council. Between 2006 and 2008, Daniela led an international Research Network on Migrant and Diasporic Cinema in Contemporary Europe (, which was part of the AHRC Diasporas, Migration & Identities  Programme. The Network brought together researchers, filmmakers, policy makers and representatives from the cultural sector. It explored how the films of migrant and diasporic filmmakers have redefined our understanding of European identity as constructed and narrated in European cinema. The main findings of the research were published in the co-edited anthology European Cinema in Motion: Migrant and Diasporic Film in Contemporary Europe (2010). In 2010, Daniela Berghahn was awarded an AHRC Research Fellowship for a project entitled ‘The Diasporic Family in Cinema’. For further details about the project, associated events, podcasts, an extensive filmography and an interactive discussion forum, please visit the project website: Her monograph Far-flung Families in Film: The Diasporic Family in Contemporary European Cinema was published by Edinburgh University Press in 2013.

Daniela has been invited to join several international research collaborations, including Remapping Europe: A Remix Project, funded by the European Cultural Foundation in Amsterdam. This initiative was collaboration between academics and media artists with a migrant backgound and examined the changing representation of migrants in the media. In the context of Screening the War in Germany, a two-year project led by the Universities of Leeds and Wisconsin, Madison that was funded by the British Academy and the World Wide University Network, Daniela Berghahn investigated the representation of female suffering and victimhood in DEFA’s anti-fascist films. In 2013, she joined the international research network Screening European Heritage, led by Professor Paul Cooke (University of Leeds) and Professor Rob Stone (University of Birmingham). The Network was funded by the AHRC under the Care for the Future programme. Her contribution explored films that imagine the cultural memory of migration in terms of heritage aesthetics.

Daniela Berghahn is a Member of the AHRC Peer Review College. She serves on the Editorial Advisory Board of the journal Transnational Cinemas and on the Editorial Board of Journal of World Cinema and Palgrave Macmillan’s Studies in Mediating Kinship, Representation and Difference.



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